Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dan Uggla & Inner-ear Dan Uggla

Atlanta Braves' second baseman Dan Uggla is in the midst of a 31-game hit streak. (For those unfamiliar with baseball this is a good thing; like finding out Anne Hathaway and Rachel McAdams are going to compete on Dancing with the Stars and/ or a reality-based cooking program.) But, what's most impressive is that Uggla was batting a Rob Deer-esque .173 before the streak started, and as of last night is only batting .224 (i.e., the producers of the aforementioned programming replaced Anne Hathaway--with either Chloe Kardahsian, Amber from Teen Mom, or Heidi Montag--not good).

DBSF is highly suspicious of this streak. Or, perhaps suspicious isn't the right word; maybe something more paternal, but definitely emotionally remote. Knowing Uggla's desire to be a career .240 hitter, DBSF is more 'concerned' for the second baseman, psychologically speaking.

It's like Uggla recognizes the importance of the feat, and superficially takes pride in the cheering from fans every time the announcer mentions the streak over the loudspeaker and in seeing his name in bold print even after the Braves' lose to the National's by a half-dozen runs. But, internally--and he must protect these true feelings as they are antithetical to the core interests of his profession--he is conflicted because deep, deep, inner-gut down he's in agony over the thought of potentially raising his career .258 average. Further, the thought that every season he raises it causes exponentially greater consternation because he must play that many more years of baseball to lower it to the career .240 he so greatly desires.

It's a common struggle that individuals face every day--professional verse personal goals; the good of the community verse the good of the individual; acceptance v. contentment. Very yin and yang. Presumably before every at-bat Uggla has a conversation with his own personal inner-ear Uggla that goes something like the following:

Uggla: Crud. They're cheering. Name's on the scoreboard? Sheesh. 31? 31, now? Double crud.

Inner-ear Uggla: If they could assure us that this thing would go 16, 17 innings at least and we could get 8 or 9 at-bats, maybe 10 with a double-switch I'd say put it in that hole in right-center. Heck, we could even run to second--that doesn't change a batting average . . .

Uggla: They said when Rose went for 42 after 20 he was so nervous that he'd wake up each night with a pool of blood in his mouth. He'd have chewed through the inner-lining of his cheek. Every night.

Inner-ear Uggla: Swinging is a purely subjective phenomenon.

Uggla: Every strikeout only makes the opposing pitcher look better. Puts food on his family's plate that's for sure.

Inner-ear Uggla: Rose is baseball's anti-hero.

Uggla: How many batter's timeouts can I take? Is it like filibustering or . . . ?

Inner-ear Uggla: McGwire, Sosa, Bonds . . . they killed us. The beauty of the game used to be in its defense.

Uggla: Pitching duels. Roger Clemens. Doc Gooden. 20-plus strikeouts in less than 8 innings of work.

Inner-ear Uggla: Golf got it right. Less is more.

Uggla: Swinging is subjective. A strike is a beautiful thing.

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